The Urbana University men’s basketball team kept its postseason dreams alive with a thrilling 88-83 comeback win over UVa-Wise Saturday inside a packed Grimes Center. With the victory, UU tied its best win total during the school’s NCAA Division II era (11 – 2012).
UU (11-15, 6-14 MEC) trailed 70-59 with 9:37 left before igniting a furious 12-2 run to get back within a point. Then, Wise stayed out in front until a Carlas Jackson jumper gave UU only its third lead of the game, 80-79, with four minutes to go.
Soon after, the Cavs reclaimed an 83-82 advantage but the Blue Knights stepped up on defense and held the visitors scoreless over the final 2:54 of regulation. DeQuan Abrom hit a runner in the lane to put UU ahead 86-83 and then AJ Washington sealed the win by knocking down a free throw with eight seconds left.
Abrom revved up his play in the second half by scoring 22 of his team-high 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting. The freshman guard made big plays down the stretch while equaling his career high in scoring for the third time this season. Jackson added 14 points in a reserve role after starting 62 consecutive games, and the change of pace turned out well for the junior guard who shook off a 2-for-12 shooting night last Thursday.
Juniors Dalton Payton (11 points, 9 rebounds) and Washington (10 points, 5 rebounds) came up with big rebounds for UU as both reached double figures in the scoring column. In total, 10 Blue Knights recorded at least two points on the night, leading to UU outscoring the Wise reserves 40-6.
The Blue Knights took advantage of 24 Cavalier turnovers which translated to 29 points and UU also outscored Wise 15-4 on second-chance points with 12 offensive boards.
The Cavs led by as many as 13 points in the first half and shot an impressive 57 percent overall during the contest with 56 percent from long range, but turnovers and chaos orchestrated by the UU defense proved to be the difference.
UU’s Jimmy Weinke erased the big first-half deficit on a made 3-pointer with 4:35 until halftime. Then, UU kept it close and trailed by only three at the break, 39-36.
With two games remaining on the regular season docket, UU increased its chances of earning a conference tournament bid. UU, Wise, and Concord were tied entering Saturday’s action for the final two spots as only 10 of the 12 MEC teams qualify for the postseason event.
UU will host No. 7 West Liberty in the home finale at the Grimes Center on Thursday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
UU women fall
Freshman Morgan Mattimore posted a career-high 22 points Saturday afternoon, but Urbana University women’s basketball fell 101-74 to the visiting UVa-Wise Cavaliers.
UU allowed 58 points over the first two quarters as the Cavs shot 56 percent, and the Knights couldn’t recover despite outscoring UVa-Wise 48-43 during the third and fourth stanzas.
The Cavs controlled the interior with their height advantage by out-rebounding UU 43-28 and outscoring the Blue Knights 44-28 in the post.
UU will play the final two games of its home slate this week, hosting Wright State-Lake on Monday at 6 p.m. and West Liberty on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.